46 episodes

Versify is part storytelling and part poetry. It begins by sending our team of poets out into neighborhoods and to community events, where we invite people to share a story from their life. The person they are sharing it to — the person listening — is one of our poets. This is where the magic comes in. The poet listens intently and then turns that life story into a poem, on the spot.

Versify Nashville Public Radio

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 52 Ratings

Versify is part storytelling and part poetry. It begins by sending our team of poets out into neighborhoods and to community events, where we invite people to share a story from their life. The person they are sharing it to — the person listening — is one of our poets. This is where the magic comes in. The poet listens intently and then turns that life story into a poem, on the spot.

    Freedom Summer: Violence Was In Me Then

    Freedom Summer: Violence Was In Me Then

    For Dr. Freddrick Leonard, joining the Nashville Student Movement in the Fall of 1960 meant learning to suppress his instincts. As a high schooler in Chattanooga, he sat in at lunch counters with other students, and they defended themselves when they were attacked. And his shift to non-violent protest was especially difficult. But even after years of practicing pacifism, that impulse to fight back was buried, but it wasn't subdued. In this episode Dr. Leonard speaks with poet, hip-hop and spoken word artist Saran Thompson about the difficulty of conforming to the ideology of a movement, how he came to grapple with the limits of non-violence as an ideal, and how sometimes keeping focused on the work means accepting that other people will be the ones to reap the benefit. Then Saran takes the down and back again of Dr. Leonard's pacifist’s journey, and turns it into poetry.

    Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch — Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. Editing for this episode came from WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was written, hosted, produced, and recorded by Joshua Moore.

    The music is by Blue Dot Session

    The show is distributed by P-R-X.

    • 48 min
    Freedom Summer: Pitfalls, Prison Terms, and Conquests

    Freedom Summer: Pitfalls, Prison Terms, and Conquests

    A Klan hit, an ambush, a sanctuary under siege, these are just a handful of the encounters that Civil Rights veteran, Dr. Allen Cason Jr., survived during his time in the Nashville Student Movement. In this episode Allen sits down with poet Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay to detail his firsthand account of the Montgomery riot that shifted the course of a movement, how his willingness to risk everything for the cause of integration cost Allen his educational ambitions, and multiple years of his life, and how sometimes the work of serving your community means concealing what you’ve sacrificed. Then Lagnajita takes the pitfalls, prison terms, and conquests of this Civil Rights hero’s legacy, and turns them into poetry.   

    Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch — Nashville’s nonprofit literary center.  Editing for this episode came from WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was written, hosted, produced, and recorded by Joshua Moore.  

    The music is by Blue Dot Session  

     The show is distributed by P-R-X.  

    • 59 min
    Freedom Summer: We Wanted Nashville To Hear Footsteps, part 2

    Freedom Summer: We Wanted Nashville To Hear Footsteps, part 2

    After the carnage in Birmingham and the bus bombing in Anniston, Rip Patton and the Nashville students set out to continue the Freedom Rides. Hear how their journey finds them in the crosshairs of Bull Connor and the Alabama Klan, and ultimately in a Mississippi maximum security prison. Rip talks to poet Destiny Birdsong about how the legacy of that activism points the way for current protest, and then Destiny transforms Rip’s spellbinding history in poetry.

    Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch — Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. Editing for this episode came from WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was written, hosted, and produced by Joshua Moore. Today’s story and poem were recorded by Joshua Moore at Nashville Public Radio.

    The music is by Blue Dot Session. 
    The show is distributed by P-R-X.

    • 44 min
    Freedom Summer: We Wanted Nashville To Hear Footsteps, part 1

    Freedom Summer: We Wanted Nashville To Hear Footsteps, part 1

    In the early 1960’s Rip Patton was on the frontlines of the civil rights movement. A foot soldier in a coordinated campaign to combat racial inequality on every front. And ultimately, induce the political opposition to revise the central edicts that governed the country. It was an effort backed by a broad coalition of American people, and fueled by the righteous indignation, and careful strategic practice of the youth. Rip sits down to talk with poet Destiny Birdsong about his role as a revisionist of American democracy. How Nashville became a test kitchen to formalize the methods of the civil rights movement, and how for Rip, the core tenet of that legacy, is ensuring that the work continues. Then Destiny takes Rips decades of resistance and turns them into poetry.

    Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch — Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. Editing for this episode came from WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was written, hosted, and produced by Joshua Moore. Today’s story and poem were recorded by Joshua Moore at Nashville Public Radio.

    The music is by Jahzzar, and Blue Dot Session— found through the Free Music Archive.

    The show is distributed by P-R-X.

    • 35 min
    Freedom Summer: The Freedom Rides, A Letter, Then Silence

    Freedom Summer: The Freedom Rides, A Letter, Then Silence

    During the Nashville Student Movement, silence was used as a tool to illuminate the strength of a movement, but in the decades following the sit-ins, stand-ins, and Freedom Rides, silence was used as a method of obscuring it. Etta Marie Simpson Ray is a Freedom Rider and one of the pioneers of the Nashville Student Movement. Etta speaks with poet Kelley Bell about the experience of living in the echo of a movement when your contributions have all but been erased, finding the courage to risk personal gain for the collective good, and the critical importance of carrying the old days with us. Then Kelley shapes the circuit of Etta's Freedom Rider journey, into poetry.   

    Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch — Nashville’s nonprofit literary center.  Editing for this episode came from WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was written, hosted, produced, and recorded by Joshua Moore.  

     The music is by Blue Dot Session  

    The show is distributed by P-R-X.  

    • 44 min
    Season 4 Trailer

    Season 4 Trailer

    In season 4 of Versify, we bring you the stories of a remarkable band of historical luminaries, connected by their courageous commitment to racial equality in the 1960s: the Nashville Freedom riders. We hear of their experiences, in their own words, and our poets turn their narratives into poetry.

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

larkp ,

Versify

I was so moved by this episode. The music and the story behind it and then the poet’s words tying all the feelings together, absolutely beautiful!

chicNhair ,

Stories matter

Versify’s rich storytelling, strong narration and writing, incredible editing, and connections with in community make Versify one of my favorite podcasts! Thank you!!

Elrob19 ,

I can’t get enough of these poets

This podcast is so moving! Versify has changed my commute forever.. hearing people’s stories next to poems about them is such a unique concept that has given me a new appreciation for poetry.

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